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Monday, April 15, 2024

IHC Acquits Nawaz Sharif in Al-Azizia Steel Mills Corruption Case

Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif has been acquitted by the Islamabad High Court in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption case, clearing another legal hurdle as he eyes a potential fourth term as the country's premier in the upcoming elections.

The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has acquitted former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference, declaring his sentence null and void. A two-member IHC bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and IHC Justice Mian Gul Hassan Aurangzeb, heard the case. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecution team, along with PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif and his counsel Amjad Pervaiz, were present during the proceedings.

Nawaz’s counsel argued that there was no evidence connected to Nawaz’s dependents, emphasizing that the prosecution failed to prove its case. He stated that no application proved Nawaz was the owner of the assets, and the burden of proof should remain on the prosecution. The NAB prosecutor countered, narrating the sequence of events leading to Nawaz’s conviction. The IHC has reserved its verdict in the case.

Legal Victory for Nawaz Sharif Ahead of General Election

PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif has secured another legal victory after the Islamabad High Court acquitted him in the Al-Azizia reference. The two-judge bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb, announced the verdict.

The Al-Azizia case was one of the two graft references in which Nawaz was convicted. He remains disqualified from holding public office, but recent amendments limit disqualification to five years with retrospective effect. A larger bench will determine the eligibility of disqualified candidates.

PML-N supporters celebrated Nawaz’s acquittal outside the court premises. PML-N leaders, including Ishaq Dar and Azam Nazeer Tarar, accompanied Nawaz to court. PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif claimed his brother had been “vindicated once again,” criticizing the cases as attempts to disqualify a sitting prime minister. Other PML-N leaders expressed similar sentiments, anticipating Nawaz’s return to leadership in the upcoming elections.